When it comes to service dogs, it is important to be properly educated on their role in the community. They are trained to keep their owner with a disability safe and protected at all times, particularity when they need immediate attention. When a person has epilepsy, they may choose to have a service dog to help them in the case of a seizure.
To begin, most service dogs are not able to tell when a person is about to have a seizure; however, they are able to protect an individual when they are having one. There are multiple ways that a service dog may respond to a seizing person, which depends largely on the situation. This can include: the dog may choose to stay with the individual, may be trained to retrieve medication, may alert the nearest person or their caretaker or can activate an emergency call system (Service Dogs 1). Regardless of the response protocol of the service dog, it should be noted that this is what has been decided is best for the seizing person and what the animal has been trained to do.
It is also crucial to be aware that if any service dog approaches you, they are asking for help. It is likely that the dog will come up to you and will be barking as their way of getting your attention. This means, that as a Good Samaritan, you should call emergency services and tell them that a person requires immediate assistance. This is particularly important in the case of a seizure, as time is of the essence. Also note that the service dog is not trying to scare you, bother you, or ruin your day; they are simply trying to help the life of their owner, who could be is serious distress.
Ultimately, all service dogs will identify with a vest that says they are a service dog. This means that there should never be any confusion between them and average dogs on the street. Thus, if a service dog approaches you, please stop and call emergency services as someone may truly need your help.
Thank you for learning more about your community service dogs! See you next week.
For more information about whether a service dog may be a good fit for you and your family, please visit: Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
"Service Dogs". Epilepsy Ontario